Positive Patient Experiences Increase Your Face Value
First impressions matter. Establishing a positive patient experience throughout their visit can increase patient referrals and your online reputation.
Layout and cleanliness: The way an office looks when a patient visits gives a testament to the type of service they should expect to receive. If the waiting area has trash laying around, an unpleasant smell, or unorganized chairs, it gives the impression the staff is lazy, unorganized, or doesn’t care. This is an extreme example, but I doubt this is the type of first impression you want to give regardless of how your practice is laid out. Therefore, ensuring the entire office (waiting rooms to patient rooms) is kept tidy and clean helps the patient gain confidence the staff cares about their experience. Here are some design tips to ensure patients receive a comfortable experience.
Interactions with staff: Friendliness can go a long way. When staff members are welcoming and inviting, patients feel valued and cared for. The front-desk staff must be well-trained and willing to provide information to the patient, such as expected wait time, bathroom location, any complimentary beverages, etc., Also keep in mind interactions with staff can be via phone as well. Finding ways to translate that sense of welcomeness through the phone can have the same affect towards their overall experience. Here’s a great reference for scripting and guiding phone calls.
Wait times: No one likes to wait. Restaurants and grocery stores have transformed online and mobile ordering so items are ready for pickup upon arriving. Amazon Prime ships same-day or two-day packages. Websites have to be speedy-quick or consumers will bounce due to loading time… it’s the new trend. When they’re used to skipping lines, sitting in a waiting area for minutes to hours on end, tries their patience. In fact, 97% of patients get frustrated over wait times, and overall patient satisfaction decreases as wait time increases. If your wait times cannot be avoided, try finding ways to occupy their time. Some ideas are: free internet, TV, or latest up-to-date magazines.
Interactions with the doctor(s): Patients remember the way their doctor treated them. Friendliness doesn’t begin and end with the front-desk. Doctors need to be friendly and accommodating as well. Being personable makes patients feel valued. Take time to thoroughly explain their medical condition and open the discussion for questions. When a patient openly discusses their questions with you, it’s important to reciprocate the same openness and honesty by replying “that’s a great question, I’m glad you asked.” Providing a sense of partnership to patients promotes positive patient experience.
Conclusively, there are many ways to create memorable experiences. It might be fun to switch up the experiences every now and then and ask for patient feedback. Ultimately, providing a positive, memorable experience not only benefits your patients, it benefits your practice as well. Positive experiences translate to patient retention and practice growth. The ultimate practice goal, right?